Bill seeks to remove CJI from the panel that picks CEC and ECs
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) was included on a panel to choose the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. On Thursday, the Union government introduced a Bill to have the CJI removed from the panel.
What are the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 all about?
- In order to change the procedure for choosing the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, the Union government filed a new bill in the Rajya Sabha.
- The proposed bill aims to replace the Chief Justice of India (CJI) with a Union Cabinet Minister and remove the CJI from the selection panel.
- The Prime Minister, a member of the Union Cabinet, and the head of the opposition in the Lok Sabha will now make up the panel.
What was the need by the government to make the change?
- According to the government, the new structure will simplify the selection procedure and establish a more effective system for choosing Election Commissioners.
- The action is viewed as an effort to reform the selection procedure, giving the political administration more sway over the appointment of important personnel.
How did the opposition respond to the bill?
- The Congress and the CPI(M), two opposition parties, have voiced their strong opposition to the planned move.
- They think that by possibly infusing political bias into the hiring process, the new composition could jeopardize the impartiality and independence of the Election Commission.
What are the potential issues that could rise with the change in the panel?
- The Prime Minister and a Cabinet Minister being members of the panel, according to the bill’s detractors, raises the risk of bias in favour of the ruling party while choosing Election Commissioners.
- They contend that rather than guaranteeing an unbiased Election Commission, such a composition would result in the appointment of people whose interests may be more aligned with those of the government.
- The selection procedure’s fairness may be questioned in light of the Chief Justice of India’s absence from the panel.
- Leaders of the opposition are concerned that this change may jeopardize the credibility of the Election Commission and its ability to supervise free and fair elections.
What were the Supreme Court’s previous rulings regarding the case?
- The Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha should make up the selection committee, the Supreme Court has previously declared.
- The goal of the court’s decision was to guarantee an impartial and fair selection process for election commissioners.
- The court’s ruling highlighted how crucial it is to keep the Election Commission’s independence and reputation.
How is this going to impact on the Democracy?
- Critics of the government’s action claim that it aims to undermine institutions by changing the selection procedure.
- They contend that this modification may give the ruling party more power to influence how the Election Commission operates.
- The debate serves as a reminder of how important it is to preserve the impartiality and integrity of fundamental democratic institutions.
- The discussion is a reflection of a greater worry regarding the degeneration of democratic values and principles in favour of partisan interests.
- Wider discussions regarding the separation of powers between various branches of government are sparked by controversy.